Going on a vacation with friends or family but want to keep in touch with the official emails in your Outlook account? Well, Microsoft has taken care of that. The “Out-of-Office” feature in Outlook allows you to send automated replies to people sending you emails when you are not in office or you are unable to reply to their emails. To know how to set up your Outlook account for sending Out-of-Office reply, follow the step-by-step instructions provided below.
Guide to Configure Outlook for Automated Out-of-Office Replies
NOTE: There are two ways to send automated Out-of-Office replies in your Outlook. The method you need to follow depends on the type of email account you have.
- In your Outlook program, click on the File option located on the top-left corner of the screen, and follow the next steps as per the version of Outlook you have.
If your Outlook window appears like the one mentioned above, you will need to follow these steps to set up automated Out-of-Office replies:
- Clicking on the File option will take you to next screen where you will need to click on the Automatic Replies
NOTE: If you are using Outlook 2007 program, you will need to select Tools > Out-of-Office Assistant.
- Next, you will need to select Send automatic replies option under Automatic Replies
NOTE: Optionally, you can also set a date range for the automatic replies you set. This way you will be able to configure the end time of your automatic reply. If you don’t want to make such changes, you will need to turn off the feature manually.
- Next, go to “Inside My Organization” tab you will need to enter the message that you wish to send to others when you are Out-of-Office.
NOTE: If you send automatic replies to anyone outside your organization, the automatic reply will be sent to every email, including the advertisements, newsletters, and junk email as well. When looking to send automatic replies to people outside your organization, it is recommended selecting My contacts only.
- After that, you will need to click OK to save your settings.
Deactivating Automatic Out-of-Office Replies
When you have automatic replies feature enabled on your Outlook program, you will see a message in the ribbon with this information. Choose Turn off to deactivate automatic out-of-office replies. In case you wish to alter the dates for the automatic reply or the message sent, you can use the information provided above to modify the settings.
NOTE: If you are using Outlook 2007, you can disable out-of-office replies by going to Tools > Out-of-Office Assistant and deselect the checkbox next to Send Out-of-Office auto-replies.
On the other hand, if you are using the following version of Outlook, you will need to make use of rules to send an Out-of-Office message.
- As you will click on the File option, you will see a screen like the one given above. On this screen, if you do not see the Automatic Replies option, you will need to create a template to reply to messages and configure Outlook to revert to every email you receive.
Steps to Create an Out-of-Office Template
- Create a new email message in your Outlook program.
- In the “Compose Email” window, type a suitable subject and message body that you wish to add for your out-office-template.
- Next, you will need to click on the File and then on the Save As an option to save the file. Make sure to add a relevant title for the template and select Outlook Template (.oft) option under Save as type drop-down.
- If you wish you can change the location of your template, or you can continue with the default location. The default location would be c:\users\username\appdata\roaming\microsoft\templates. After that, click on the Save
Steps to Create an Out-of-Office Rule
- In your Outlook program, click on the File option and select Manage Rules & Alerts
- Next, you will need to go to the Rules & Alerts dialog box, on the E-mail Rules tab, click on the New Rule
- Then, you will need to click on the Apply rule on messages I receive under Start from a blank rule and click on the Next
- If you wish to reply to every email message you receive in your account, you will need to leave the boxes unchanged in Step 1 and Step 2 and click on the Next button again. Then, you will need to choose Yes when Outlook prompts you whether you wish to apply this rule to all messages.
- Now, under “What do you want to do with the message” section, in Step 1: Select action(s), you will need to select reply using a specific template
- Similarly, under Step 2: Edit the rule description, you will need to click on the underlined text for a specific template.
- Then, you will need to select User Template in File System in the Look in box located at the top of the Select a Reply Template
- Under Select the template section, you will need to select Open and Next
- After that, enter a suitable name for the rule such as “Out of Office”.
- The rule will be created in your Outlook program for future emails.
NOTE: You will see that by default, the checkbox next to “Turn on this rule” is selected. If you wish to use the rule right away, simply click on the Finish button. However, if you wish to use this rule later, you will need to deselect the checkbox next to “Turn on this rule” and click on the Finish button. Later, whenever you wish to use this rule, just follow these steps:
- Go to the File > Manage Rules & Alerts
- Under Rules and Alerts dialog box, under the E-mail Rules, select the rule you created and select the checkbox next to the rule and click on the OK
- The rule will be enabled for future incoming emails.
So, this is how you can configure your Outlook program to set up automated Out-of-Office replies.